Shamisen Dedication at Lake Batur (Indonesia)

[Shamisen dedication performance at Lake Batur] 2012.11.15

This crescent-shaped caldera lake is located at the foot of the sacred mountain Batur. The view here is usually seen from the driveway on the outer rim of the mountain.

We also ate a not-so-great buffet with many tourists at a restaurant with a terrace with a great view.

Most of the time, after taking a picture with the mountains and lake in the background, people head straight back up the driveway.

But we came here for the dedication performance. We told the local driver, who could speak English a little, that we were looking for a place with greenery, few people, and good air flow… We told him we were looking for such a place to play the shamisen (Japanese traditional guitar). As I was looking for a suitable place to play the shamisen, some local young man asked us if we would like to board their boat. There were no tourists in the area. I decided to go with my instincts and go with the flow and ask to be taken on the boat.

We drove behind the motorcycles of a group of young men with a rather bunker-like appearance. We drove quite a bit.

“It would be great if we could play a dedication in the middle of the lake.”

As if sensing my mixed feelings of anxiety, THEO mutters.

I saw a boat with a thatched roof. “Is that it?” He replied, “Yes.” A life jacket was given to us. I looked closely and saw a pool of water in the bottom of the boat. “Is it safe with water in it?” I asked him. He said “it was because it had rained yesterday”. I nodded my head and said yes, algae is obviously growing, but… and I was ready to go. It’s more like a rowboat than a boat. Slowly moving away from the shore.

There and then, THEO began to play the shamisen. The young people in the car hooted and hastily began recording, smiling innocently.

We paddled for about half an hour. I arrived at another shore. In broken English, he pointed to a place and said we could go and see it. I saw what looked like a gate, so THEO and I went there. There were two skulls at the gate, one on each side. We went in the back and saw many more skulls…

This was a village called Trunyan, famous for wind burial. It is a village inhabited by indigenous people known as Bali Aga. It is a village that preserves the culture of the 11th century before the arrival of Hinduism in Bali, and even today, strict commandments and traditional culture are still observed. Women are not allowed to marry men outside the village. After visiting there, I felt I understood why even long-time Bali residents I met there stay away from this village.

They say a special place is chosen for the wind burial. The wind blew well and there was no smell at all.

Next thing I knew, THEO had started a gamelan/shamisen session with local youths. Music transcends culture and language.

With uplifted spirits, we left the tomb of wind burial and boarded the boat. Once again, the sound of the shamisen echoed across the lake.

A pleasant breeze blew as if gliding across a calm, calm lake.

【バトゥール湖にて、三味線奉納演奏】 2012.11.15




でも、私たちがここに来たのは奉納演奏のため。緑が多く、人が少なく、気の流れの良い場所…カタコトの英語を話せる現地ドライバーさんに、三味線-Japanese traditional guitar を弾くためにそんな場所を探していると伝え、不思議な顔をされながらもそれに相応しい場所を探していると、地元の若者たちが船に乗らないかと声をかけてきた。辺りに観光客の姿はない。直感と流れに任せて、船に乗せてもらうことにした。




茅葺き屋根の舟が見えた。「あれか?」「そうだ」という返答。ライフジャケットが渡される。よく見ると舟底には水が溜まっている。「水が入ってるけど大丈夫?」私が問うと、昨日雨が降ったからと言う。明らかに藻が生えているのだが、そうか と頷いて見せ、覚悟を決めた。






気がつくと、THEOが地元の若者たちとガムラン・ 三味線セッションを始めていた。音楽は文化も言葉も超える。


しずかなしずかな湖を、滑るように、心地よい風が ひゅうっと、吹いた。